need standard to eligibility and benefits, by such strategies as setting the payment standard at a fraction of the need standard. Hence, considerations of possible adverse consequences for program costs and caseloads should perhaps weigh less heavily than the advantages of using the proposed poverty measure to set AFDC standards of need.

In conclusion, we believe that, on balance, the use of the proposed poverty concept for the purpose of determining AFDC need standards would be beneficial, even if individual states set their need (or benefit) standard at different fractions of the poverty threshold. Use of the poverty thresholds that are developed under the proposed procedure would be generally consistent with the AFDC definition of income and would recognize important interstate differences in living costs within a common framework that would provide a benchmark for evaluating the adequacy of eligibility levels across states.

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